“Good morning, Eleanor,” he said with a tad too much enthusiasm. “Everything is going well I assume.”
“If you’re asking if Melanie and I have survived the first forty-eight hours, then the answer is yes.”
“Good, good,” he replied. ‘So how can I help you?”
“Aren’t you going to inquire about the health and happiness of the cat you just happen to forget to inform me about?”
“Oh,” he said flummoxed for words despite that being his stock in trade.
“Since you’re launching no attempt to pretend ignorance about his existence in that innocuous looking basket, I’ll let you off the hook. Porter adjusted quickly. He immediately laid claim to my townhouse as his territory, but in a kingly burst of generosity he’s allowing me to continue to reside there. However since he calms Melanie, I surrendered without resistance.”
I continued, “Speaking of calming Melanie, the poor kid has experienced terrifying nightmares both nights she’s been here, emitting absolutely hair raising screams. I realize she’s recently lost her mother and her grief is raw, but the intensity of the episodes seem to suggest more. Tom, or shall I call you Thomas or Mr. Wilham? Albeit Flim Flam Man seems more appropriate in how adroitly you played me.” I took a sip of my coffee.
“Oh definitely call me Tom. It’s the shortest of the options.”
“Okay, Tom it is. Do you know anything about the life and death of my cousin Margo? Dying of an overdose is so unlike the Margo I knew. Way too pedestrian. Margo was born a snob. I can’t imagine her staying at a Best Western Hotel let alone some dingy back alley hotel in a slum. The clothes in Melanie’s suitcase were old and smelly, total trash. We spent yesterday clothes shopping.”
“The estate can reimburse you for those items, if you submit receipts.” he said.
“Don’t be silly. She’s family. I can”t send her off to a new family with the what she brought with her. So is there money in the estate?” I asked.
“My father was an old university friend of Margo’s father. He managed quite a large portfolio for your uncle. Trust funds were set up for Margo and her mother. When her mother died, that trust fund reverted to Margo also. Plus Margo married well and faired equally well financially from both of the divorce settlements. About eight years ago Margo abruptly severed ties with my father and turned the management of all her assets over to the man who was Melanie’s father, Angelo Dominante. Both he and my father died two years later. I’ve no idea who managed Margo’s money after that.”
“Wait, I missed the bus at the last stop. If you or your firm hadn’t had contact with Margo in the last eight years ,which was prior to even her pregnancy, how did you get the signed document naming me Melanie’s guardian? Plus how did the authorities know to contact your firm about Margo’s death?” I asked.
“It is a bit peculiar and I’ve nothing but short answers to give you. Four years ago the document came in the mail with no explanation. The post mark was the Bahamas with no return address. So all I could do was tuck it in the file. Apparently the authorities discovered our address in Margo’s things. The only information I have about her death is Melanie dialed the front desk crying that her mother wouldn’t wake up. By all the needle marks on her body, she had been addicted for some time. I don’t know how to put this delicately, but apparently the hotel was well known for catering to prostitutes.” Tom stopped talking.
This was entirely too much to process. Poor dear Melanie and poor Margo. Never in ten million light years did I ever think I would say, poor Margo.
“What’s bothers me is Margo had a huge amount of money and assets in her portfolio. Some of those assets would have been difficult to liquidate quickly. How did all of it disappear in eight short years and actually even less, because it appears she had been down and out for several years? Even with profligate spending, it would be difficult to lose every single cent and be reduced to her circumstances,” said Tom.
I could see Tom’s point, but I also knew Margo lived large and lavish. The Margo I knew had no concept of economizing. But then my observations were decades out of date.
“So lawyer man if there’s no money to be found, what is this estate you alluded to which would reimburse me for the clothes and was going to pay for a nanny to stay with Melanie in a hotel?” I asked.
Tom was silent for a few seconds and then simply said, ” She’s the granddaughter of my father’s dear friend. My father would have wanted it.”
Suddenly I heard in the hall, ” Miss? Miss where are you? Miss?” Melanie’s voice was edged with panic.
“Gotta go. Melanie’s up.” I quickly hung up the phone and opened the door.
“Hey good morning. I’m right here. I closed the door because I was making a phone call and didn’t want to wake you and Porter.” At the sound of his name Porter wound his body around Melanie’s legs.
Melanie’s eyes glistened with unspilled tears as she reached down to stroke Porter.
“I’m feeling like pancakes this morning. Do you like pancakes?” I said.
“Oh yes Miss. Porter likes them too.”
“Then it’s settled. Go get your robe and slippers on and meet me in the kitchen. We’re making pancakes!”
This should be interesting I thought. I haven’t made a pancake in over twenty years. Oh well how hard can it be.
To be continued——-
Marcie at Flavor the Moments provided Eleanor with a mighty tasty version of pancakes!!!!